1.1. Introducing SDF
SDF (Simple Document Format) is a freely available document development system which generates high quality outputs in a variety of formats from a single source. The output formats supported include PostScript , HTML, POD, plain text, man pages, LaTeX, SGML, Windows help, MIF and RTF. If the idea of specifying documents in a logical manner via a simple markup language sounds appealing, SDF may be useful to you.
SDF documents are simple to create and maintain, minimising the time spent on documentation. In particular, SDF directly supports the creation and maintenance of large, on-line documentation systems (including intranets) via centralised hypertext management and rule-based hypertext generation.
As well as normal documents, SDF is useful for:
- user manuals (paper-based and online)
- online document catalogs
- Perl module documentation
- Delphi component documentation
- source code listings (pretty printing most languages).
SDF is also good for literate programming, i.e. documentation can be embedded in the comments of most programming languages and can be selectively extracted. The embedded documentation can be in any markup language you like, although there are advantages to using SDF's markup language.
SDF has been completely developed in Perl, a popular and highly portable scripting language. Perl 5.004 or later is recommended, although SDF may run on earlier versions of Perl 5.
To generate PostScript, SDF requires one of the following:
- the freely available pod2ps program
- the freely available SGML-Tools and LaTeX packages
- FrameMaker 5.x or later
- another word processor which can import RTF.
Earlier versions of FrameMaker will generally work, but I don't explicitly support them.
To generate Windows help, a help compiler (e.g. hcp.exe) is required.
- download the latest software
- browse the FAQ
- report defects
- suggest enhancements.
SDF is available using anonymous ftp. The URL of the base directory is ftp://ftp.mincom.com/pub/mtr/sdf. The latest release is available in a variety of formats.
The following mailing lists are available:
To subscribe to these lists, send email to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on using factotum, the majordomo variant that manages these lists. In short, send email to email@example.com with a message body of subscribe sdf-users or subscribe sdf-bugs.